P.LEAGUE+ champ to play in East Asia Super League in 2022

12/01/2021 04:18 PM
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A P. LEAGUE+ game in Taipei in November. CNA file photo
A P. LEAGUE+ game in Taipei in November. CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) Taiwan's P. LEAGUE+ professional basketball league will be represented in the inaugural season of the East Asia Super League (EASL), a basketball Champions League of Asia that will start with eight teams in October 2022.

The champion from the P. LEAGUE+, the champions and runners-up from Japan's B.LEAGUE, South Korea's KBL and the Philippines' PBA, and the newly formed Hong Kong-based Bay Area Chun Yu Phoenixes, will compete in the league for a US$1 million grand prize, the EASL said in a statement Wednesday.

The eight teams will be split into two groups of four, and each team will play home-and-away contests against others in its group from October 2022 to February 2023.

The top two teams in each group will then play in a single elimination semifinal round and the EASL championship game in March 2023.

The P. LEAGUE+ is hoping the association with a regional league will give it wider exposure.

"Our fans love high-level basketball and can't get enough of it," said P. LEAGUE+ founder and CEO Blackie Chen (陳建州).

"For the P. LEAGUE+, EASL is an opportunity to grow our league and elevate its level through elite competition, while gaining exposure on a pan-regional stage."

The P. LEAGUE+, established in 2020, is Taiwan's first professional basketball league since the Chinese Basketball Alliance (CBA) shut down more than 20 years ago.

EASL plans to position itself as the hub of East Asian basketball, bringing the best of the region's club teams together in an elite competition, supported by long-term agreements with FIBA and Asia's top leagues, said EASL CEO Matt Beyer.

"Our mission is to be East Asia's premier basketball league, with a vision to be one of the top three leagues globally by 2025 in terms of fan base and commercial revenue," Beyer said.

The Hong Kong club will represent "the Greater China region" in the initial version of the tournament, Beyer was cited as saying by the South China Morning Post.

But the league expects to increase the number of teams competing in the EASL to 16 by its third season, and teams from China or other areas could be included, the league said in a statement.

The FIBA Asia Board is backing the formation of the EASL, said FIBA Executive Director Asia Hagop Khajirian.

"This new competition has the potential to enrich the road to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, the continent's highest club competition, and will act as good complement to it, providing a great basketball platform for clubs in the East-Asia Sub-Zone of FIBA and the Philippines," Khajirian said.

(By William Yen)

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